Friend-of-the-Court Briefs Submitted by Williams Institute Scholars in Two Marriage-Related Cases Pending Before the U.S. Supreme Court

March 2013

Williams Institute scholars participated in friend-of-the court briefs filed in two pending U.S. Supreme Court cases in which the Court is weighing the constitutionality of measures related to marriage by same-sex couples.  The cases are:

(1) Hollingsworth v. Perry, in which the Court is considering the validity of California’s Proposition 8, which provides that “[o]nly marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California,” and

(2) United States v. Windsor, in which the Court is considering the validity of Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which provides that, for most purposes, federal law recognizes marriages only of different-sex couples, not marriages of same-sex couples.

In each case, Williams Institute scholars participated in the filing of the following briefs:

(A) Williams Distinguished Scholar Gary J. Gates filed a friend-of-the-court brief presenting and analyzing demographic and economic data regarding LGBT adults and same-sex couples and their children in the United States.   This brief analyzes data from the 2010 United States Census, the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the General Social Survey, and data from the Gallup Daily Tracking Survey.  The law firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as counsel on the brief.

Click here to read entire brief.

(B)  A group of eight Williams Institute-affiliated scholars on sexual orientation and gender law joined with the National Women’s Law Center and eight other leading women’s legal groups to file a friend-of-the-court brief arguing that, like laws that discriminate based on sex, laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation warrant heightened judicial scrutiny because, among other considerations, such laws are based on overbroad gender stereotypes.  The scholars on the brief were Nancy Polikoff, Vicki Schultz, Nan D. Hunter, Christine A. Littleton, Devon Carbado, Cheryl Harris, Seana Shiffrin, and Brad Sears.  Counsel on the brief were David Codell, the Williams Institute’s Visiting Arnold D. Kassoy Senior Scholar of Law and Legal Director; Marcia Greenberger and Emily Martin of the National Women’s Law Center; and the law firm of Paul Hastings LLP.

Click here to read entire brief.